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Brake repairs to someone clueless

My 2006 BMW x3 is now due for brake pads. How much should I expect to spend? The warranty expired. Also, should I go to a dealer or find a local garage? I live near Charlotte so if anyone knows a good BMW guy, please let me know.


Brake pads are a simple repair, no need to go to the dealer. Ask around, or use the ‘Mechanics Files’ link at the top of this page to find a mechanic near you. You might also ask on a BMW forum.

Don’t worry about the warranty, most times brake pads aren’t covered, anyway.

Thanks! I am going to look into that BMW forum.

+1 to what Texases poated.
Another way to find a reputable shop is to ask everyone you know for references. Perhaps one name will pop up above all others.

Today, brake shops almost ALWAYS try to include new rotors as part of any brake job. This will triple the cost (and profit) then simply replacing the pads. If your current pads are not completely worn out and the car is stopping smoothly and quietly, there is seldom any reason to change the rotors other than to make the shops life easier and more profitable.

When negotiating for a brake job, I would ask “If my rotors are still serviceable, I really don’t see any reason to replace them now”…If they respond that the brakes may squeal and pull and shake if they don’t replace the rotors and they can’t guarantee the job, I would point out that the brakes don’t squeal, pull or shake now and by simply replacing the pads with new ones, there is really no reason for any of those things to happen…if they come back with “but the rotors a glazed and if we just put new pads on, they are sure to squeal when you stop…” To that I would respond " There are several techniques available to remove the glaze from rotors without replacing them…"

I should tell you that the shop, seeing over half their usual profit slip away, might lose interest in doing your brake job…But if they relent and agree to just replace your brake pads, you could ask them to flush the brake fluid, a necessary and worthwhile procedure that is not too expensive…

I agree 100% with caddyman on this one, especially about the brake fluid flush.

Thanks. Great information !

As a follow on to Caddyman’s good advice, if you have any wear on the rotor, you can probably have them ground smooth again. Rotors can be ground at least once, unless they have deep grooves in them from overly worn pads. Resurfacing would remove the glaze he mentioned. I always replace the rotors when I change the pads, but I do it myself. It is less expensive for me to replace rotors than take the off, use another car to take them to a shop, get them ground, and take them home again. But for you it is likely less expensive to have the rotors resurfaced.